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SC notice to Future Retail, others on Amazon’s plea

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from Future Retail Ltd and others on Amazon’s plea against the Delhi High Court direction to maintain status quo on the Future-Reliance deal.

A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai issued notices to Future Retail Ltd, Chairperson Kishore Biyani and others, and sought their replies.

The apex court said the proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal will go on, but will not culminate into any final order on amalgamation of FRL with Reliance.

While issuing notice distinct to FRL and others, the bench says that reply to the appeal of Amazon be filed in three weeks, and rejoinder after two weeks thereafter, and the Amazon’s appeal will be listed for hearing after five weeks.

Last month, Amazon had approached the Delhi High Court seeking enforcement of the interim order of the Emergency Arbitrator (EA) at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) that had restrained FRL from going ahead with the deal with Reliance.

In the interim order on February 8, the division bench said it was staying the single judge order as firstly, FRL was not a party to the share subscription agreement (SSA) between Amazon and Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) and the US ecommerce giant was not a party to the deal between FRL and Reliance Retail.

In February, 2021, the ecommerce major moved the Supreme Court in a bid to block Future Group’s Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance, according to sources.

The development comes after a recent Delhi High Court’s ruling that stayed a previous order on status quo of the deal and ruling that statutory authorities cannot be restrained from acting in accordance with law.

Amazon has approached the Supreme court in the matter against Future, sources close to the development said. Future and Amazon did not respond to e-mailed queries.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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